December 31 – Saint Catherine Laboure
On November 27, 1830, Our Lady appeared to Saint Catherine Labouré in Paris and revealed to her the design of the Miraculous Medal. Its first great miracle was the deathbed conversion of a bishop who had sworn allegiance to the French Revolution. Our Lady gave St. Catherine the mission to have a medal struck and to spread it.
This she accomplished with only her confessor's knowledge. Although she then remained hidden and obscure in her convent, as befits a woman religious, devotion to Our Lady of Grace marked a true renewal of devotion to Our Lady in Europe.
With the use of the Miraculous Medal, extraordinary graces spread throughout the Church. It became a common custom to wear a Miraculous Medal around one’s neck or to place it on the chest of an impenitent patient while making the novenas and prayers prescribed by Our Lady. It seemed almost certain that the person would convert as a result.
Through this devotion, Our Lady began to dispense many other graces to the world.
Moreover, this devotion is linked to two other very important devotions, which the Jansenists had attempted to bury: the devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Not only did this devotion help defeat Jansenist sentiments, it also helped give rise to a colossal ultramontane movement in the philosophical, political and social fields. The results were a great nineteenth century movement devoted to Our Lady, the definition of papal infallibility, and the devotion to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
St. Catherine died on December 31, 1876. Let us ask her for the grace of accomplishing our duty in life according to our vocation leaving everything in the Hands of Our Lady.
In view of the past graces and consolations of the Miraculous Medal, let us cultivate devotion to it with great fervor.